Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Individualism And Non Responsibility
As I told you, reading “Small Is Beautiful” served to verify several preconceptions.
One observation of the author I immediately found to be “my own” was that “Market is the institutionalisation of individualism and non responsibility”. This simply means that the buyer is concerned about his individual profit or interest while buying goods in the market and does not assume any sort of responsibility towards the society or anyone else while buying. All he cares about is value for his money.
He does not make a distinction between a product that was made using renewable resource and another product of the same category made using non renewable resource.
He does not bother to ask “Were the working conditions for labourers in the factory (that produced this commodity) good or bad?”, “Was the technology employed environment friendly or not?” He will not care to buy an indigenous product – which is essential to encourage indigenous industries – if the same product can be imported for a cheaper price.
I see this attitude of individualism and non responsibility everyday, everywhere. One can exhibit this attitude not just while buying products but also when they pay for services.
The rickshaw drivers in the city use meters that are rigged. But most of the people show zero resistance and pay him whatever he demands. Who cares? Its just 20 rupees more. If most of the people stop having illusions about their “image in society” and refuse to pay, will not the drivers refrain from such daylight robbery?
Are the people not encouraging exploitation? Are they not fuelling dishonesty?
A number of American corn stalls have opened in the recent times. A cup of corn that cost 20 rupees a week ago suddenly cost 30 rupees yesterday and 40 today. If people stopped eating corn for a while, will not their prices come down?
Real estate prices in the city are rising at the speed of light and for no ‘real’ reason. If people stopped buying flats and if those who already own a flat curbed the greed to buy another, would not the builders stop blood sucking?
Diamond District on Airport road, I am told has exactly one thousand cases against it for violating norms of construction, for not taking permission from several state departments etc. if people refused to buy such property because of the legal risks involved, would the builders get away with such audacity?
Nobody cares. People simply go on consuming whatever is available for the ‘best’ possible bargain. No social responsibility whatsoever.
The minority like me are an object of mockery – for threatening the rickshaw driver with a police complaint, for telling the shop owner on his face that his corn was stale and the cup too small for 30 rupees, for commuting by bus to help air pollution and for not owning a square inch of land even after 5 years of service in IT!!